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Letter to the editor
Courts, not sheriff, needed county dollars
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Forsyth County News
It was a shame to read in last Sundays’ paper how severely our court system has been impacted by mandatory budget cuts.

With 4,000 or so cases recorded last year,  Forsyth County now qualifies for a third Superior Court judge but we have no space or staff for this. Pending cases from early 2006 with charges such as drug possession, sexual exploitation of a child, assault, fraud, etc. are just now being cleared by the District Attorney’s Office due to the severe backlog that already exists.

Forsyth County has only two Superior Court judges to hear every civil and criminal case brought before the court.  

In the past election, the citizens voted down a new jail and headquarters for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. I am quite confused as to why the county commissioners, against the taxpayers obvious wishes, gave Sheriff Ted Paxton an additional $97,000 out of the county’s budget, not the sheriff’s budget, to lease a new headquarters.

Why? The sheriff stated that the buildings occupied by Criminal Investigations, Warrants, GCIC and Command Staff had sick building syndrome. The county commission was rightly concerned, and ordered an environmental study of the allegedly affected buildings. That study returned with no diagnosis of sick building syndrome but the sheriff moved his Command Staff offices and Criminal Investigations anyway.

Why not move the Sheriff’s Offices back to where they originated, and use that $97,000 to help fund the courts and deal with the tremendous backlog?  This would actually lead to large savings because the county would not have to house as many people in jail for as long, or tie up pretrial services for many years.  

The protection of our citizens is the duty of not only the Sheriff’s Office, but the court system as well. In the words of William Gladstone, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”  Justice must no longer be denied to the citizens of Forsyth County.

Kim Pruitt